tv Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer Current October 2, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
all right. go get 'em! hey, tomorrow night, everybody check out the debate coverage. myself, vice president al gore, eliot spitzer jennifer granholm john fuglesang. the crowd is all back! good night everybody. >> eliot: good evening. i'm eliot spitzer. this is "viewpoint." we're coming to you tonight from the fillmore auditorium in denver colorado, just 24 hours before president obama and mitt romney square off for the first presidential debate at the university of denver's magnus sports arena and about two hours before i debate talk show host glenn beck. details of where to watch it coming up. we're going to spend the next hour going over the issues that are expected to dominate tomorrow's presidential debate along with an issue which may not come up but should. gun control. but first, a little news. both candidates are reportedly
spending the day preparing for wednesday's debate. which, if you can believe president obama isn't much fun. >> obama: basically, they're keeping me indoors all the time. it's a drag. they're making me do my homework. >> eliot: whatever he's doing seems to be working. "new york times" polls blogger nate silver rated the president's chances of winning re-election at around 86% compared to 14% for mitt romney. the president got a boost today when a pennsylvania judge delayed implementing the state's voter i.d. law until after the november election. in denver, romney tried to improve his chances with hispanic voters say he would keep in place the president's executive order allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the u.s. as children to get temporary visas. meanwhile, the ad wars continue. karl rove's super pac will reportedly spend $11 million over the next week to broadcast this ad in eight swing >> this is what president obama said the jobless rate would be
if we pass the stimulus. 5.6%. but this is what the jobless rate actually is. 8.1%. the difference? about 3.7 million jobs. >> eliot: the obama campaign has a new ad of its own attacking romney's record on outsourcing at bain capital. >> a company called global tech maximized profits by paying its workers next to nothing under sweatshop conditions in china. when mitt romney led bain, they saw global tech as a good investment. even knowing that the firm promoted its practice of exploiting low-wage labor to its investors. >> eliot: with me tonight here in denver to discuss the topic that should dominate the first half of wednesday's debate, the economy, the former chairman of the colorado republican party g.o.p. strategist dick wadhams and david shuster. thank you for joining us. you are in hostile territory tonight. i appreciate you coming into the crossfire surrounded by current
hosts. >> nice to have you here. we always talk over the teleprompter. your guy, mitt romney today, we're going to get to the economy in a minute. what he said about immigration seems once again, to be an etch-a-sketch moment. had he really wanted to woo and appeal to the latino voters which is i think necessary if you would want to stay in the campaign, he should have said this months ago. why wait until now? it looks as though, once again the weather vane flips around. he's erasing the rhetoric in the past and it looks like me-too-ism. i hate to sound skeptical. what is the approach with latino voters. can he win without him? >> i think he was dealing with the reality of what the president did on that issue. i've said all along that republicans' appeal to latino voters has to be on education. here in denver we have one of the highest dropout rates among hispanic kids in the nation. it is inexcusable. we're failing an entire generation of minority kids in colorado and around the nation. i think the democratic party is
still held captive by the national education association and the colorado education association here. and education i think is the issue to get to those voters. >> eliot: i'll agree education is an issue when i talk to latino voters. and education as much as anything else is an issue that resonates, touches a nerve. everybody, latino voters, included, of course, cares deeply about. i don't agree the democratic party is hostage. rahm emanuel pushing for reform. teacher's union is not against reform but that debate is a whole separate debate aside for a moment. answer the harder question about immigration. why didn't mitt romney act sooner on the immigration issue both because he don't think he believes the harsh rhetoric he used in the primary. he can't win without it. >> you know, i don't speak for the romney campaign but i also know that this campaign is going to be won or lost on the economy. it is not going to be won or lost on immigration. the fact of the matter is that hispanic voters are probably going to favor barack obama by two to one but i'll tell you
something else, too. the unemployment rate is so much higher among hispanics especially young hispanics. the enthusiasm of those voters is not as high as it was four years ago. that's a big factor in colorado. >> eliot: that's true. dade, you have been following this campaign so carefully. mitt romney several months ago had a trump card. it was the economy. people gave him higher marks saying he can bring back our economy, create jobs, solve the deficit problem across the array of economic issues, mitt romney had the upper hand. now he doesn't. what happened? >> the polling suggests the only issue where mitt romney is leading obama is who do you feel more positive about for the future, it is president obama. there are two things going on. the democrats had a very successful convention making the case that it was a much deeper problem that the country faced than anybody knew four years ago. most americans tend to believe that. secondly, president obama has come across as a little more likable on economic issues. when people are asked who would
you rather sit next to on an airplane flight for four hours president obama wins by 25 points. >> eliot: go on air force i. >> it is not that big a gap in terms of likability, you're also going to have a strong gap in terms of who do you like in terms of understanding your issues and your pocketbook. >> eliot: let me ask youing the same question, dick. there is a likability factor and the white house has been enormously effective over three or four months starting with bain. then the tax return issue. then the 47% tape which is a self-inflicted wound by the romney campaign. the aggregate effect of all of this has metastasized. people just don't like mitt romney. maybe intentionally unfair but how does he reverse that and on economic issues, if we don't feel he relates to us, how does he turn that around? >> i think voters think the obama agenda failed. the stimulus bill that was signed with great fanfare not far from here in denver, colorado, i think people see as a failure. people have rejected, i think
the polls show, his healthcare reform bill. but i think that governor romney is finally making the pivot to making this a choice election. we know that the obama campaign has wanted to do that all along. i never did agree with the obama campaign or the romney campaign in trying to make this just a referendum on obama. that was never going to work. they're making the pivot now. i think governor romney has the opportunity in denver tomorrow night and in subsequent debates to bring this back that he's the guy who can fix the economy. if he does, he wins the election still. >> eliot: maybe. dave, jump in. >> the challenge whether it is on the economy dealing with immigration, whether it's dealing with healthcare, mitt romney has had several different positions so even if he takes a very clear position tomorrow night, that's going to be a different position from the one he took three months ago or three years ago. >> eliot: i also want to challenge the premise of your position. not that we're trying to jump on you from both sides. the public has been more forgiving of president obama because they understand the trend line. the action d said unemployment
8.1 but they remember it was at 10 and when george w. bush was president and left office, we were losing jobs at 750,000 per month. so i think rather than the absolute number, the trend line and the sense of confidence, it maybe confidence overstates it. it states they're coming back as in the benefit for the president. >> just like jill biden said today, the middle class has been buried for the first four years. first time i've ever agreed with joe biden. the gdp was revised downward from 1.7% growth to 1.3%. we know that another million one trillion was added to the federal debt in this fiscal year. the trend line is actually continually going down. >> eliot: in isolation, they would be problematic for an incumbent president. when you put them in context of a larger macroeconomy, the public says we understand what you've done. let me ask you this. governor romney's policies seem to be a rehash of what george w. bush wanted to do and did.
and people look at it and they say this is old wine in new bottles. it didn't work before. why will it work now? >> i don't think they'll see that. in fact, the reason -- i think people will see that governor romney wants to reduce the tax and regulatory burden on families and small businesses and rather than impose this huge debt on the american people, i think people, the more they learn about this healthcare bill as nancy pelosi said, we have to pass it so we know what's in it. every day there is another story. >> the problem is that the more people learn about it, when you ask about should people up to age 25 be able to be covered by their parents. when you ask individual polling it goes in support of it. generally, people say oh, yeah, i don't like president's obama care but individually, parts -- >> eliot: the healthcare bill is another situation where mitt romney was for it, against it, now he's kind of for it. he has been the weather vane, the etch-a-sketch on this more than any other individual issue. i think it was rick santorum or
maybe newt gingrich who said he is the single worst candidate to oppose the president on healthcare because he's the grandfather of the bill himself. i think he doesn't have credibility with the public on that issue. tell me i'm wrong. >> he does have credibility. he said he's going to repeal it as president in conjunction with the republican congress. he's got credibility. and he's going to take this issue to president obama. >> eliot: there are parts of it he likes, kids staying on their parent's health insurance until age 26 and pre-existing conditions. everybody knows you can't have those without paying for it. the way to pay for it is the individual mandate which is the third rail of politics. we'll talk about it later in the show. so mitt romney has put himself into an intellectual box even if it may not be a political case. >> i think he will make the case for repeal in the debates. every post still shows they want repeal. >> eliot: we'll talk about it more in a minute. up next, a preview of another topic in tomorrow's debate. a major philosophical divide between democrats and
republicans, what role should government even have. i'm in denver. we're in "viewpoint." i'll be debating the one the only glenn beck. for more information on how to watch our war of the words check out facebook.com/current. viewer for capella university. matter. education is the key. it is the vehicle. it's the way in which we evolve. every journey is different every possibility is unique. but the beginning, the beginning is my craft. i'm an ordinary person striving to achieve extraordinary things. it started with a dream and i'm on my way there.
>> eliot: wednesday's presidential debate is focusing on the tragic events in aurora, colorado over the summer. gun control is not one of them. a new ad starring one of the victims of the aurora shooting aims to make sure those watching the debate are thinking about gun control as they should. >> this past summer in a movie theatre in colorado i was shot in the face and neck. but i was lucky. 40,000 americans won't be so lucky because they'll be
murdered with guns in the next president's term. enough to fill over 200 theatres. so when you watch the presidential debates ask yourself "who has a plan to stop gun violence"? let's demand a plan. >> here to talk about the gun control issue and where it should fit into the larger debate, topic of the role of government dave sirota. dick wadhams republican strategist former chairman of the colorado republican party. dick, let me start with you just because i think you're outvoted here two to one. i'll give you the first word if not the last. you don't think gun control should either be passed or part of the debate. >> no. listen, when you have somebody like that guy in aurora who is intent on killing people, no law is going to keep them from it. i'm actually paraphrasing what governor hickenlooper said when he was asked about it. the fact is no law is going to keep somebody like that, whether they're crazy or they're just motivated by sinister interests
from killing people and it is just another example of government trying to get rid of something that we can't -- >> eliot: we'll get to the philosophical in a moment. dave, you disagree. >> i disagree in the sense that i think this shouldn't prevent us from having a discussion about gun control. now, are you right that any gun control would stop james holmes in that theatre? i think nobody can know. what i think we can know when you look at polling in colorado, people support the idea of assault weapons bans. people are interested in the idea of common sense controls where somebody like a james holmes, maybe you can't stop him from killing or injuring one two, five, ten people but preventing the number of bullets from going out of a gun having magazines with 100 or however many rounds, those are the kinds of things we should be talking about. when we talk about gun control we get into a debate over nobody having any guns at all.
>> eliot: let me state the divide is no longer democrats and republicans. it is more often urban rural it is more often where you grew up. was shooting part of your day-to-day life. there are many democrats who share your view this is simply -- guns are part of our culture, fine. but i think dey and i would feel that magazines with 100 bullets the capacity is something that could legitimately be banned without encroaching on the second amendment or we could microstamp bullets to assist police in investigating crimes, things like that that technology now permits seem to be feasible and would thread the needle between the theoretical opposition you bring to it and those of us who say wait a minute, we've lived in urban environment where is the tragedy of gun violence as we saw in the ad is too great not to respond to it. i think the ad is powerful. we can all agree on that. it is an issue that should be debated. >> i think you two have a problem with your president. president obama doesn't support what you want to have happened. >> eliot: you're right. >> he doesn't want to talk about it. >> absolutely.
>> he doesn't want to talk about it because he doesn't want to get into that philosophical debate because unfortunately the debate is polarized. once you say common sense gun control. you hear from people who say you want to take away all of my guns. unfortunately, in the debate, even though policywise, there is a middle ground in the rhetorical debate, there hasn't been a middle ground. >> eliot: as with many issues, we move to the extremes where the possibility of forging a consensus in the middle is gone and the nra is taking an absolutist position on the second amendment and other people take absolutist positions on the other side. we won't thread that needle now. the president has not been leading on this issue. i've been critical of him on that as well as editorial boards saying we understand the politics of it. maybe now in the second term, he will have the fortitude to be more aggressive. let's change to the larger philosophical issue. you seem to have a visceral dislike for government statutes that try to regulate our behavior. tell us about it. >> no, i do not have a visceral
dislike for government. i think there is a proper role for government. i think under this president the expansion of the scope size and cost of government has been so dramatic -- it is something we've never seen in this country before. i think that that's one of the great issues of this campaign going beyond all of the economic statistics that this is -- true choice, the american people need to debate and talk about. >> eliot: dave, i'm going to let you respond. >> we have gone there with franklin roosevelt and we have gone there with lyndon johnson with the great society, the new deal. so the question of should we dismantle the new deal, should we dismantle some of the great things about the great society medicare, that is at issue here. i think that there is -- i'm glad we're having the philosophical discussion about redistribution, about the size of government because i think we need to have that discussion in those terms. i was actually shocked that mitt romney hasn't run as governor mitt romney in a more moderate guy, a guy who would -- i read
an article recently that said i was expecting him to campaign on his healthcare bill. this was one of his aides. he didn't campaign on it. he's running against his own healthcare bill when he criticizes president obama's healthcare bill. so i think it is good the country's having this debate over the size and role of government. and i think if president obama wins, whether he really represents what his enemies say he represents, i think it will validate the other side that says there is a role for the size of government that we have now. >> eliot: before you jump in i want to say one thing. there is the philosophical conversation, in a way the more important one. a factual statement you made which i do disagree with. president obama's responsible for the largest increase in our deficit and it is his policies that got us there. yes, the increase in the deficit has occurred while he is president but the reason -- the reason why we have that increase is the bush tax cuts, the wars that president bush got us into and the combination of those two is responsible for over that 60% of the debt. i think that's a fact that we
could prove as a factual matter. >> governor, i disagree with you there. as i said earlier the debt for this year is $1.3 trillion. we're now way over $16 trillion for the debt. i got -- overall it happened under his watch. that's the trouble with barack obama. he doesn't want to take responsibility for anything. let me -- let me mention something else in terms of a science of government. what befuddles me about president obama and many democrats is this head in the sand attitude about medicare and medicaid and this dramatic expansion and the cost and any attempt to discuss making it safe for future generations is demagogue, is an attack or an attempt to destroy it. when, in fact, we all know what's going to happen. >> eliot: can i ask you to stop just so dade has a chance to respond then we'll have to go to break.
i don't mean to cut you off. >> i think taking it and making it into a voucher is not a way to strengthen medicare. i think that's burning the village down to save it. that's kind of an orwellian idea. people are talking about changing it in a way it doesn't exist in the way it exists today. and i find it really -- bizarre and contradictory that the republican party right now here in colorado, we've had u.s. senators come here and say we can't cut the defense budget. sequestration that would cut the defense budget which is a huge part of the growth of government that republicans are now out saying barack obama's a terrible guy for trying to cut the defense budget. >> congressman kaufman has actually said we can cut the defense budget. >> eliot: we'll have to take a break. dick wadhams thanks for coming. you've been voted off the island. thank you for coming on. unfriendly territory. i appreciate you coming on the show. we'll be bringing you the debate live tomorrow night on current tv with our politically direct presidential debate coverage. i will be joined back in
new york by cenk uygur, governor jennifer granholm, john fuglesang and vice president al gore. we'll have full pre and post-debate analysis. join us starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. we'll hear a lot about healthcare in tomorrow's debate. will we get to use president obama's new healthcare system or lose it? coming up right ahead.
es have been preparing for this moment for years. but all of that practice may not matter if the candidates lose control of their emotions and their messages. current tv correspondent david shuster joins me with news on the preparation front from both campaigns. david, thanks for coming back later in the show. >> of course. >> eliot: what do you hear from the campaigns? what are they bracing for? are they ready for the zingers? are they saying hold your own and play defense? >> they both recognize both candidates, they know the issues. there is a lot of content.
they're versatile in talking about the content. the thing that both campaigns are worried about and we were just talking about this a second ago. on television, 70% of the impact on the people out there watching is right here. it has nothing to do with what you say even how you say it. there are fears in the obama campaign that because of the personal disdain that he has for mitt romney and how mitt romney has handled about the campaign, they're worried about the president snarling or being angry. they're trying to get him to say look you know the material. if you're going to attack him do it be a smile and a glimmer in your eye and you'll be fine. >> eliot: then senator obama's toughest moment in his run for the nomination was when he turned to hillary clinton and said you're likable enough. there was an edge to it. people pulled back and said are we seeing a different side of no drama obama than we actually appreciate. >> yeah. i think for the romney campaign because mitt romney had all of the practice -- not only four years ago but also the run-up in the primaries romney has a pretty good poker face. this is a guy who can look at
you and he won't give anything away. that may be something of an advantage for mitt romney in terms of the emotional. he has an ability to smile a little bit and chuckle. at least as far as the atmospherics, there is a lot of focus today on that. not so much on the content. >> eliot: you were saying earlier, i don't want to spill any beans that the obama camp fears the president has actual disdain for mitt romney. that the president looks at mitt romney and for whatever reason says you should know better. you should not be saying these things because you're smart enough to appreciate that they're wrong. that's a hard emotion to cabin inside one self when mitt romney refuses to budge. so that could evoke from the president's sort of a show of emotion that isn't favorable. >> that's a great concern. especially -- romney's tone of voice but when mitt romney takes a position different from what he took a couple of months ago. he said something that contradicts -- so there is an effort by the obama campaign to say look, you've been working on the issues for four years. you know them inside and out.
you know debates. focus on trying to have a good time. enjoy yourself. both campaigns are suggesting they think that the first debate may be not so -- it may be like john mccain and barack obama four years ago. the first debate was the first letdown. a lot of wonkiness. they didn't go after each other very hard. they were a little bit nervous in feeling each other out. >> eliot: the notion they would enjoy it, i can tell you i've been through debates nothing on term with that, you don't enjoy it. there are butterflies in your stomach when you walk out there. you know the campaign potentially rests on every utterance you make. there is the his tansey -- hesitancy no matter how skilled you may be, there is a hesitancy and a fear. that's unavoidable. >> how do you deal with glenn beck who is a master of television regardless of what people may think about him. they're using a nice picture of you grimacing. glenn beck has the smile and you don't. >> eliot: i'm trying to scare him. getting prefight cut to look bloodied and beaten up even
before we start. it will be fun. in a way this emotionally is similar to what people go through in a debate. you want to make your points. glenn beck and i disagree as fundamentally as two people could. you have to do it with a smile or grace or else the public will not come into your corner. >> one that that will be different from this debate from the one with glen, there is a lot righting -- riding on jim lehrer. each segment is 15 minutes long. he asks a question and they each get two minutes to respond. for the next 11 minutes, they can talk to each other. jim lehrer can stay out of it. there could be a lot of interaction there. >> eliot: debates are at their best when they come closest to what is cross-examination in a courtroom. i speaks a lawyer, prosecutor, i suppose. but i have enormous respect for that capacity of an advocate who disagrees with a proposition to ask the hard questions and elicit the truth. i think -- mitt romney must be worried about that. if jim lehrer decides to drill down on what by mitt romney's
own characterization is an etch-a-sketch campaign, they could breed significant problems for him. >> it is not an easy job moderating debates under that format. interesting to see. they could talk about immigration because of the border agent shot today. there are a lot of different things that both candidates have to prepare for. >> eliot: one thing i would say is these are two unbelievably smart individuals. as you said, they both know the substantive areas they will be discussing. i think emotion will be more important than the substantive content. david, thank you. >> good luck. >> eliot: i'll see you. i might need you in my corner. that's "viewpoint" for tonight. in one hour, it is the war of the words. i'll be debating glenn beck here in denver. get the details on facebook facebook.com/current. i'll see you tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. for our coverage of the presidential debate. have